Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Facts #18: Toilet Paper Edition

You can take this blog post, and use it to wipe your ass, for all I care.

1) The oldest toilet may date back to the 26th century BC, but toilet paper is consideraly newer than that. The Chinese invented toilet paper, and they've been using it since at least 589 AD. Other people, such as the Arabs, thought this was disgusting, but nevertheless, the Chinese were manufacturing ten million packages of toilet paper per yer by the 1300s. These packages ranged in size from 1,000 to 10,000 sheets. Some were up to two feet by three feet (60.9 by 91.4 cm) big. That's actually a pretty big freaking sheet of toilet paper. The imperial family had extra-soft sheets made. Of course.

The imperial asshole is very delicate, you know.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, people were making due with toilet paper alternatives. These included corn, wood shavings, rags, grass, leaves, snow, and sand, for some reason. Some people used their hands, afterward washing them with water and soap, because you would.

2) The typical American uses about 50 pounds (23 kilos) of toilet paper each year, which is half again as much as any other Western country. Yes, kids, we're that full of sh*t.

3) We also export a lot oftoilet paper. In 1999, we exported $44, 331,000 worth of toilet paper to Canada. The second largest consumer of American toilet paper that year was the UK, which purchased $579,000 worth of American toilet paper.

4) In 1973, the United States experienced a toilet paper shortage. The oil crisis was in full swing, and Johnny Carson (you know, the comedian) thought he'd make a joke about there being a toilet paper shortage. Carson didn't count on the age-old American custom of believing everything you see on the television/read somewhere.
No one's offended -- the Americans stopped reading when I told them they were full of sh*t.
On 19 December 1973, Carson joked to his audience that the United States was running out of toilet paper. By noon the next day, you couldn't find a roll for sale anywhere in the country. Carson soon apologized and explained that he was joking, but it took three weeks to get toilet paper back into American supermarkets. Some people bought so much toilet paper that morning that they were still using it for years.

5) You know how, sometimes, when you go into a fancy hotel, you find the end of the toilet paper roll folded up into an interesting shape? Yeah, there's a word for that. It's “toilegami.”

Just thought you'd like to know. ~ Richard Faulder

6) According to Ann Landers, one of the most controversial topics in the nation is whether the toilet paper should dispense from the topside or the bottom side of the roll. And here I would've thought it would be abortion, or gay marriage, or immigration, or something like that.

We know which side our bread's buttered on. ~ Elya

70% of Americans prefer the toilet paper to be dispensed from the topside of the roll. Factors affecting this preference are said to include political beliefs, age, socioeconomic status, and gender. It is believed that most people who prefer the toilet paper dispensed from the bottom side of the roll own a cat.

Indeed. ~ Derik DeLong


  1. I have been to countries where you were expected to use your hand. Thank God for pocket Kleenex packs. Sand? It isn't bad enough when you go to the beach and have sand in every crack and crevasse just from visiting, can you imagine putting it there on purpose????

  2. Was kind of wondering what could be worse than wiping your ass with corn and wood shavings and then I saw hand.

    We don't realize how good we have it do we? Today i am thankful for toilet paper.

  3. I've got to hand it to you. You managed to make an article about toilet paper interesting. Whodathunk it?! Write on, sister!

  4. Arabs just followed what the Romans did years back by using water to clean, that's why there are "showerhead" kinda things in the toilet.

  5. @Jen I once heard that toilet paper in the former Soviet Union contained splinters, but I was unable to verify that.

    @Squeak I know, right?

    @D I like those Japanese toilets that wash and then blow dry while playing soothing music.

    @Christina I still say sand is worse than hand.

    @Cinemaprofound Glad you enjoyed it! :) Thanks for commenting!

    @R.gers I'm sure water is much better than sand.

  6. Thank you, Chinese people, for the best and fastest-used invention in my household ;-)

  7. They did come up with a lot of useful stuff, didn't they?

  8. I did NOT expect the history of toliet paper and references to toliet paper to be so funny! I am appalled at my lack of knowledge on the subject, considering I'm a frequent wiper and tremendous fan. You have inspired me to go out and learn trivial info about other common household items (like Q-tips) just so I can nod my head and say "I knew that" when I read your next post...oh sh**, did you already blog about that? Now I have to go and catch up...

  9. Common household items? Thanks for the tip. ;)

  10. Thanks for sharing! Toilet paper is one of the fast-used inventions in every household. The pictures are funny!